It’s hard to put 2k16 into words, isn’t it? For me it’s been a year of transitions, for many it’s been a ‘year of realising things’. Those iconic words from Kylie Jenner that everyone sort of laughed at, then it got too real too fast. It’s been the year we’ve statistically seen more fake news on our feeds than real, the year print media decided to get its claws out, the year there was an actual impeachment in the Korean political system, and the year an awful lot of news was swept under the carpet.
Oh, and the Brangelina split.
2016 you have been a year that most want to lock away in a box, throw away the key, tie the box to some concrete, and chuck off a cliff.
But I’ve also seen you be fab to friends and family, and me, this year. The silver lining in the storm cloud that you are.
fries make all bad things better, this is fact
Transitions. My student discount is no longer valid, I am a Real Adult now, with SFE (Student Finance England) and national insurance to pay, jobs to find, secure and stress about. It’s been a fraught back end following a fraught start, job hunting can be so damn demoralising, and I used up a lot of my positive energy trying to get through my dissertation.
Pride. I’ve had moments this year when I couldn’t be prouder of myself, or my friends. I wrote 11,177 words on the topic of why young Korean’s don’t get plastic surgery to look ‘more Caucasian’ for that dissertation – and I got a really solid 2.1. I’ve learned a lot about different different beauty standards, ideals, how they came to be, and fun things like the ‘beauty salvation myth’, and I’ve read way more feminist writings than I ever have before. The way we and society view and value appearance is fascinating. I graduated. I did the whole gown and cap toss and everything and it was a wonderful day with mostly wonderful people and I miss you all. I’ve also written some of my best posts this year and I’ve hit targets I never thought I would (thanks, instagram algorithm, no love at all). I was in Blogosphere Magazine, Boohoo invited me to their annual Christmas do, and I even managed to up my youtube content!
I’ve seen friends accomplish wonderful, crazy things. Vix has her own photoshoot and interview in Blogosphere, and I’m get to pick up a copy but holy fuck, she’s done so well. Kayleigh has been solidly battling the stigma around OCD, despite people coming for her, and she’s such a strong person in the face of all that adversity. Holly’s blog has skyrocketed, and I’m so happy to see The Kitty Luxe doing so so well alongside her getting a masters degree. Laila had a redesign of TapeParade this year, and her writing is so consistently wonderful, knowledgeable and engaging that I want 2017 to be a great year for her. Lucy has been creating some amazing posts this year, some really lovely stuff over on her youtube, and her instagram is fire so she’s def been giving me all the friend-pride. Holly continues to make WitchCake a fabulous place on the web, I love her art and her no-holds-barred yet beautifully succinct way of writing. May is another that should probably have a few books in hand, she combines style and the written word so beautifully it’s hard not to completely binge on her blog whenever I get the chance. My hope is that she decides to pursue the youtube thing because I think she’ll be marvellous.
There are definitely more, and I’ll do another roundup post like I did at the end of 2015, but time managed to run away from me.
I’ve felt that a lot, this year. That time is slipping away from me. That sounds horrifically morbid, but I’ve been learning how to not succumb to the idea – whether it’s my own or some warped societal – that I should be much further ahead in life than I am currently. I don’t own a home. It took me 5 months to land a part-time retail position, I don’t really have a planned career direction, just a slightly sketchy end goal and a whole lotta faith that things will work out. I’m 23 – that’s not old by any stretch of the imagination unless you’re under 18 – but people my age, from my town, are married with children, or are in very long term/committed relationships with/without children, and although I couldn’t see myself in that position right now, it’s hard not to go ‘huh’. Like I’m stalling. It’s weird.
On the more creative side I’ve let my emotions really run my output. The two are intrinsically linked in my world, but I think this year has been the year I let the feels take over. I’ve felt uninspired, trapped, and had such little faith in my own ideas that even though I’ve wanted to create, I’ve shoved things aside because I deemed them too stupid or childish or not me. Something is definitely going to have to change. I have tried to implement that change, but everything’s been so up in the air, so maybe, so conditional, that I’ve been thrown for a fair few loops and then again for six just when I think I’ve got it down. When people say that job hunting is basically a full time job, they are not wrong, and when you receive nothing but rejections because of experience vs qualifications, it’s hard not to spiral. You have to be so motivated to keep going. It’s also hard not to lose a lot of faith in your abilities, and unfortunately for me, I let that spill into my content (or lack thereof).
I’m transitioning through it though. I’ve found ways to cope and deal and work more effectively, that I’ve either started putting into place already, or at least have identified the need to.
when life throws you lemons, make pink lemonade (or become super bitter lemonade 3.0)
what I’ve learned:
BREAKS ARE IMPORTANT.Working through or on something for 8 hours straight is Not A Good Idea At All. Sometimes I can’t help it if I’m in a hyperfocus phase, but most of the time sitting for that long makes me restless and I start to hate what I’m working on. It’s also terrible for my eyes, as so much of my work is close-focus or laptop/computer based. So yes. Breaks.
HYDRATE. One of my 2016 goals was to be conscious of my water intake, and up it considerably. I should be drinking around 1600ml to 2000ml (or 2 litres) of water a day. Roughly 8 glasses. For most of this year, I’ve averaged about 5 or 6 daily – some days I hit the full 8, others I hit 2 or 3 – which is much better than last year, but still not great. Dehydration makes you so tired, generally. For me it also affects my skin, and staying adequately-to-well hydrated can even reduce the prominence of under eye bags, which I have – thanks uni. It also helps keep away things like kidney infections and fun (totally not fun) health issues as well as keeping your metabolism a-ok. Hydration is the key to so many things. I’m proud that I’ve learned all of this.
RUN. I started running more consistently at the end of August. It’s where most of my #dailysky and sunset pictures come from, since I’m lucky enough to live on a really quiet, looped road that basically serves as a semi-private running track. So far my greatest distance is 6.5km, and I don’t focus on times, really. Running has given me a place to either zone out completely, headphones in and music on, or mull over ideas that I haven’t had a chance to think about yet. It also gives me a solid block of time to actually exercise, which is one of those things that’s kind of useful to keep fit. The final bonus is that it’s made me feel a lot more at home and comfortable in my body, which is something I’ve not touched on here yet, but is a bit of a battle for me.
SLEEP. Love sleep. Don’t get enough of it, or I sleep at really odd hours. At the moment it’s sort of necessary because I’m having to deal with 3 timezones to coordinate something happening early 2017, but in general my sleep pattern in solidly fucked. I’ve always been more nocturnal than a morning person, and getting up at around 7am daily for a prolonged stretch kind of causes me to energy crash. I know that sounds horribly entitled but I very rarely had morning classes for my final two years at uni, and job searching Not Going Well isn’t the best motivator for an early rise and shine. So even though I’m sat here writing this at 2am on December 31st, I shall not be continuing. I’ll get up at A Reasonable Time.
SUPPORT. I’ve got so much better at asking for help, or venting frustrations without feeling like I’m burdening people. So. Much. Better. I have a fab group of friends – whether they be irl or online – and that really does make a drastic difference. So thanks a whole, immense amount to my uni besties, my group chat girls, my frequent fave messagers, my twitter pals, and the instagram mutuals. You’ve made 2016 much more bearable.
IDEAS NEED GROWTH. Probably obvious, but I haven’t really spent a lot of time nurturing the ideas I’ve had. I’ve written them down (which is a definite step forwards), but they’ve just been left to melt and fade into the pages of my notebook. In September I bought a new notebook with the intention of starting an art journal, and have I started it? No. Have I had ideas? Yup! I definitely need to push myself more in actually getting past the conception stage and putting things into motion.
I know that we’re all going to remember 2016 as That Year A Lot Went Wrong. We lost so many wonderful, talented, creative minds that have challenged so much, and it’s probably going to be featured in an awful lot of future exams for a variety of subjects. But we’ve also learned a lot of lessons, and the fight for change is apparent and progressive. There were some wonderful moments of good in among the absolute crap-fest, both globally and personally, and I’m going to carry those forward to the new year.
Also, thank you so much for reading the things I post on this lil’ square of the internet. It means the world.
don’t forget to come & say hi on my social media 🙂